Sunday, January 9, 2011

Not Right Wing, Not Left Wing...Mentally Ill

To Congresswoman Giffords and the 17 others who were shot yesterday, I offer my prayers for you and your families. This was a horrible tragedy and one that will not be forgotten soon. The man alleged to have shot Rep. Giffords and so many others, Jared Lee Loughner, has already been identified by many as a right wing extremist.  I hate to disappoint those that are more concerned about political scoring points than human beings who have been shot; it appears that Mr. Loughner was mentally ill, not politically impressed by Sarah Palin’s or Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas’ target lists of Gifford.

                Let’s consider what little we know about the alleged shooter, less than 24 hours after the tragedy. He posted several YouTube videos that are clearly rambling and disturbed. Some refer to the Constitution and gold/silver currency, lack of grammar, mind control, how the police are unconstitutional, while another refers to BCE and ADE, along with strings of numbers. A short read of these videos, most of which are text in nature, sounds like a paranoid person verging on, if not already in, the throes of schizophrenia.

A  New York Times’ morning article, however, was quick to point out what they thought were his political leanings. They make reference to his commentary about the Constitution and gold/silver currencies.   The Times also list some of his favorite books, listing “Animal Farm” and “Brave New World”, among others. They conspicuously leave out “Mein Kampf” and the “Communist Manifesto”.

Also left out was a commentary about the You Tube video posted on his collection and listed as his favorite. In it, a lone figure that Mr. Loughner identifies as himself (“do you see the rare bird perched on my shoulder?”) is apparently dressed as the Grim Reaper.  The heavy metal music in the background has a repeated refrain “when the bodies hit the floor”.  After a minute or so of doing nothing but apparently gazing at the American flag planted in the ground, the figure lights the flag on fire.  No mention is made of this video in the New York Times article. This pattern is repeated in many blog postings about the incident.

So, from the little information gleaned thus far about the alleged shooter, we could make a very bad case that he leaned right: obsessed with the Constitution, gold/silver and currency, felt abortion was wrong, etc.  Or leaned left: favorite books are “Mein Kampf and “Communist Manifesto", doesn’t believe in religion, burned the flag, etc. This could only be done by leaving out information that disagreed with the writer’s intended slant.

We can, however, make a good case for someone who is mentally ill by looking in totality at his writings, his behavior and what little we know of his history thus far (suspended from college for a “disturbing video” and recommended by the college that he seek counseling, refusal of the Army to take him as a recruit). And sadly, the mentally ill sometimes get violent, especially if untreated. 

The lesson to be learned from this? Before hysterically shrieking political commentary, one could pause for a moment to think of the victims. Then, assess what information is actually available before making said commentary.  Perhaps most revolutionary, put accurate and complete information in, not merely what agrees with the bias you want to convey to the reader.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Quantitative Easing Explained

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Our Veterans Get It

I worked as a volunteer on the McCain Presidential campaign in the last four days before the election.  We all gathered in a cramped, thrown together campaign office in Scranton, Pennsylvania, which looked nothing like the gleaming command centers usually portrayed on TV. Nope, this office consisted of folding tables fronted by folding chairs, bad coffee and doughnuts. Twelve hour days were the norm for the full time volunteers, with other volunteers coming in after the dinner hour.
We were nearing that dinner hour when one of the volunteers that I had worked with came up to me, quite agitated. It turns out that a very large American flag that had flown over a garrison had been donated to the campaign office. Trouble was, whoever delivered it had unceremoniously dumped it on the floor. Quite rightly, Ron the volunteer was highly offended but had no idea what to do with this very large flag. Knowing I was a police officer, he came to me for help (yes, we are supposed to know how to take care of everything). We ran back to the front of the office, curious eyes now following the minor hubbub taking place.
“What do we do?” he asked.
“Well, first things first. We get it off the floor, then we fold it properly.”
“How do we fold something this big?” he asked.
“Go get those teenage boys in the back,” I said. “We’re gonna need a few hands for this one.” And while I gently gathered the flag from the floor, he ran to get assistance. The security guard, who had not said two words during his entire shift, came over to volunteer the information that he used to take down and fold the flag every night while in the Army.
“Good,” I said. “You’re in charge in showing us how to fold this flag properly.”
He stood a bit taller, said “Yes, ma’am” and helped me start straighten the flag out. It was enormous, and when fully stretched, took up most of the office. Ron came back with about eight confused teenage boys, who could not understand what the fuss was about.
It was just a flag, after all. They didn’t get it.
We positioned the boys along the flag, intent on our task. The boys chattered, as boys do, while we began. They didn’t get it, after all.
The other volunteers, busy with the phones, began to look around at the fuss. They saw what we were doing and nodded their heads in approval. The Army man began the painstakingly slow process of folding the flag precisely, with me and Ron assisting. With each fold of the flag, the careful stretching and tucking of each corner and smoothing of the material, the boys’ chatter started to slow.
The boys became more interested in what we were doing. They began to take part in the deliberate folding, jumping in spontaneously to make sure the material was perfectly smooth and no wrinkles were present for the next turn. Their chatter eventually ceased and they became focused slowly on the flag, to the exclusion of everything else in the room.
By the time the last fold was done, the last corner perfectly tucked in and the flag placed in its rightful spot of honor in the room, the boys were completely silent.
They finally got it.
To all our veterans, past and present, thank you for all you do for our country, for all your sacrifices in protecting us and keeping us safe. 
We know you have always gotten it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

How Much Will Your Taxes Rise if Bush Tax Cuts Not Extended?

Use this website to see how much your taxes will rise if the Bush tax cuts are not extended at the end of this year.

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Chuck Schumer’s Arrogance

 Chuck Schumer is the bad stereotype of today's politician: smug in his superiority over the "little people" and anyone who dares to defy or question him, he had hoped to avoid even running a campaign this election cycle, counting on the fact that his relatively unknown opponent would be unable to match him in money and resources. Thanks to the new media and Jay Townsend's persistence and skill, Schumer has finally been forced into his one and only debate on October 23rd at Marist College in Poughkeepsie.

Townsend On Schumer’s ‘Arrogance’

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to Take Back the Senate



The battle to take back the Senate from the Democrats is in full swing. Unfortunately for some of the candidates, the GOP has decided they are not worth the battle. We have a historic opportunity to return two Senate seats to the Republican aisle and to change the balance of power for the nation overall by assisting two campaigns in New York State. We have seen in the past the poor judgment of the GOP in their picks for who they feel will win. We the people  need to start making some of the decisions for them.

The National and New York State GOP have decided not to assist these particular candidates: Joe DioGuardi  and Jay Townsend, who are running against Gillibrand and Schumer, respectively.  Schumer’s seat is of particular interest as the Senator has his eye on the Speaker of the House position.

How can you help, even if you are not from New York State?  Help can take many forms which all of us are capable of doing.

First and foremost, contribute what you can to their campaigns (websites listed below). Ten dollar donations multiplied by the hundreds add up fast, so please do not think that your “small” donation will not help. It does. These two men are running on empty and need your help. We have seen the difference out of state donations have made to other local races, such as Sharron Angle’s race.

Call/write/Twitter the National GOP (www.gop.com)  and the New York State GOP (www.nygop.org) and ask them why they are not supporting these two candidates. If you are a regular contributor to either of these organizations, make it clear to them you will be ceasing contributions unless there is some action forthcoming. 

Call in to national or local radio shows, such as Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and/or Mark Levin to ask to have both of these candidates vetted on their shows. The national exposure will make all the difference. 

Educate your friends and family. Neither of these candidates have the money to blast the airwaves with commercials, so the education must be done by all of us, person by person. Make sure people who do not follow politics as closely as you do are aware of these candidates and the importance of putting them in the U.S. Senate. 

The balance of power rests in all our hands, with all of us responsible for changing it. Be part of the tsunami this November 2nd by helping these candidates. The Tea Parties of New York have already worked miracles in helping these candidates. Together, we can move mountains.

Twitter: @RNC, @NewYorkGOP
Mark Levin: 877-381-3811
Sean Hannity: 800-941-7326
Glenn Beck: 800-727-BECK
Rush Limbaugh:800-282-2882

Annmarie Spiciarich is a retired police sergeant. She has a MA in Forensic Psychology, with a certificate in Terrorism from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She currently works as a community mental health counselor at a suicide hotline. Check out her website and contact her at: www.NotWithoutRepresentation.com or her blog at http://NotWithoutRepresentation.blogspot.com.